East Texas congressman came to interview minus facts

Our neighboring congressman, Republican Brian Babin, has risen from obscurity, now a supposed talking head for the GOP candidate for president. Unfortunately, much of what the lawmaker says is wrong or a lie or both.

I watched Babin this morning on CNN with Carol Costello, who was grilling the poor dentist from Woodville, Texas, like a fajita.

Babin, who lost a congressional race in 1996, would have had no name recognition outside of the largely rural East Texas district had it not been for his part in a scandal involving former GOP majority whip Tom DeLay. As Babin’s wiki page says:

After the 1996 election, Babin became involved in a campaign finance scandal concerning $37,000 in illegal donations from businessman Peter Cloeren that were moved through “vehicles” to circumvent the individual contribution limit of $1,000. Cloeren asserted in an affadavit that Babin and then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (allegedly*) laundered his donations through other candidates and organizations. Babin and DeLay denied his allegations. Cloeren pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and paid a $400,000 fine and received a two-year suspended prison sentence. Babin paid a $20,000 civil penalty and paid back $5,000 in excessive contributions for “accepting an excessive contribution and a contribution in the name of another and failing to disclose financial activity properly.”

(*Ed. inserted “allegedly.”)

DeLay was later found guilty on campaign finance charges of money laundering and conspiracy by a Texas court. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the verdicts. The present political composition of the court is one Democrat and eight Republicans.

The Costello interview with Babin, the congressman from the 36th Texas Congressional District, touched on the GOP presidential candidate’s remarks last week seeking the black vote as well as Babin’s own take on the border situation.

Babin said that he would not have spoken the way the Republican presidential candidate did last week while seeking the black vote. T, addressing a nearly all-white crowd, said that essentially blacks have little going for them so they should try him on for size as president.

 “What the hell do you have to lose?” the candidate asked.

Babin added that talk of T having racial biases is just wrong.

“I don’t think Mr. (the GOP candidate) has a racist bone in his body,” Babin said.

What bones have to do with racism is another matter.

Babin might just get away with a slip of the tongue while speaking to Costello on border problems. Addressing what true believers call “a clear and present danger,” Babin repeated inflated or perhaps just downright false claims about ISIS terrorists who were caught at the Texas border.

Babin said for just a split second that 40,000 ISIS operatives had crossed the border. Costello tried to hammer the congressman on specifics. Of course Babin had none to share. Some Republicans have said 10 ISIS troops were caught sneaking into Texas from Mexico. Others say eight Syrians were caught at the border. So whether Syrians or Syrian ISIS members or Syrians posing as Mexicans might have been caught it seems just as certain that number might be zero.

A June 6, 2016, editorial by The New York Times had it right taking Babin and other Republicans to task for their Chicken Little routine over Syrian refugees.

“To people like Mr. Babin, facts seem to mean very little.”

One hopes not. Babin appears to be a nice fellow. Perhaps he has perfected his soft East Texas speaking style while talking to patients while standing over a dental chair. But he should be reminded that any yanking the doc is doing should be that of rotten teeth rather than yanking the American public’s chain.